Trailer Tuesday: RoboCop

You know, I didn't hate last year's Total Recall, a remake of director Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi actioner. It's just that it was kind of bland - slick, superficial and soulless - when compared to the memorably distinct, brutal and dark comic book-y stylings of the 1990 original.

Now, frankly, I'm getting the same vibe from next year's RoboCop remake, which is also based on an R-rated Verhoeven classic from the same time period.

When the above trailer debuted online last Friday, public response was actually quite positive. People were intrigued at least. I, however, am not one of them. Despite the presence of a strong cast (Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L Jackson, Jackie Earle Haley and Jay Baruchel all appear in supporting roles), RoboCop 2014 looks like it has sucked out everything that made the original franchise-spawning film such a hit.

Chiefly, the new RoboCop just doesn't look fun at all. The original was gleefully over-the-top; an R-rated cartoon for adults. In essence it was a Frank Miller comic brought to life (out of interest, Miller actually wrote a script for RoboCop 2 and cameos in the film), set in a decaying future "sin city" where corruption, cynicism and graphic violence are the order of the day. This new RoboCop? It looks like every other post-Dark Knight serious actioner - slickly made, pretty to look at but dour and soulless. Hell, they have even completely omitted RoboCop's tough female partner Officer Lewis (played originally by Nancy Allen) from the sausage fest.

Oh, and did I mention the finished film is likely to be PG-13? Yeah, the new RoboCop is family friendly, right down to good cop and future cyborg Alex Murphy (played by Joel Kinnaman) falling prey to a car bomb instead of being dismembered by gang members.

Nothing is being done here to impress me. I hate the exposed human hand in the costume design, and then there's all the behind-the-scenes drama that has plagued the film's development, with acclaimed, edgy Brazilian director Jose Padilha apparently fighting severe studio interference every step of the way. That is never a good sign; neither is the fact that the movie saw its release date pushed back from a peak August date this year to early 2014 - a typical dumping period for the big studios after the busy festive season.

RoboCop opens in North America on 7 February. The movie is currently set to release in South Africa on the same date.

Meanwhile, the filmmakers have five months to really impress me, because right now I have no intention of watching RoboCop Lite. "Your move, creeps."


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